You don’t need a bench press or a heavy set of barbells to get in a great chest workout at home. In fact all you really need is a set of suspension trainers and a bit of space. Of course you can simply do body weight exercises but if you want to make your workouts more time and effort efficient using something like the suspension straps is the best way in terms of cost, space and time requirements.
What are suspension trainers? Suspension trainers turn any space, indoors or out, into a fully functioning gym capable of giving your whole body a workout. Whether you want to lose weight, get toned or put on some quality muscle a suspension trainer should be your first port of call. Check out our suspension trainer round-up for the pros and cons of the different models available.
Right let’s get down to business. Here are some of our favourite chest exercises that can be performed with a set of suspension straps like the TRX Pro or the Jungle Gym XT to name just two.
Suspension Strap Push Ups
Are regular push ups too easy for you? Want to ensure your chest gets enough of a workout? Then the suspension push ups take one of the most popular exercises in the world to the next level. Let’s go:
- Setup the straps so that the handles are about 6 inches from the floor.
- Put your hands into the handles and hold on!
- Lower your body into the regular press up or push up starting position.
- Now perform a push up but try to keep your hands as still as possible preventing the straps from moving about.
- Keep a straight line from your toes to your shoulders: don’t bend your back.
If you want to make this exercise a bit easier raise the height of the handles to take some of the weight off.
Suspension Trainer Chest Press
This is similar to the above push up exercise but the greater height of the handles makes the range of movement more akin to the incline bench press exercise.
- Set up the trainer so the straps or handles are about waist height.
- Hold on to the handles and put your arms slightly out in front of you.
- Lean forwards on to the straps lowering your body as low as you can.
- Keep a straight line from your head to your ankles and avoid bending your back.
- Straighten your arms and push back from your chest to return to the starting position.
To make this exercise more difficult stand further back so the distance you travel as you lean is greater.
Suspension Strap Chest Fly
This is similar to the dumbbell chest fly exercise except you don’t need any weights and the potential wobble of the suspension straps makes it much more difficult to perform!
- Setup the straps so the handles are about waist height.
- While standing take a strap or handle in each hand and walk forward with your arms out in front of you until the straps are tight and your hands are just below shoulder height.
- Lean your body in towards your hands and then extend your arms out to the side of you.
- Bring your arms back to your sides while keeping any wobble to a minimum.
- Perform the rest of the reps and then push yourself back to the starting position.
You can combine the chest fly with the chest press if you want to make things more interesting. To do so do a press back to the starting position after each fly. Then lower yourself again and perform another fly.
Suspension Strap Chest Exercise Routine
These three exercises will give you a good chest workout at home without the need for any gym equipment (apart from the straps of course). Change the order you do them in each week to ensure that each exercise gets a turn of going first at the start of your chest workout when your muscles are fresh and ready for a good workout.
Aim to do between 8 and 12 reps for each exercise and do three sets for each one so your workout looks something like this:
- Warm up
- Suspension Strap Pull-ups: 3 sets of 10 reps
- Suspension Trainer Chest Press: 3 sets of 10 reps
- Suspension Strap Chest Fly: 3 sets of 10 reps
Remember to change the order each time you do this workout so your muscles don’t get complacent from doing the same thing week in week out. Read our article on changing your routine to enable new muscle growth for some good reasons why a change is as good as a rest.